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City festival attracted 49 000 visitors

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Festival created 644 jobs

FESTIVAL TIME: The 18th Gariep Arts Festival is on track to open its gates at the Oppenheimer Gardens tomorrow.

WITH the city’s 18th Gariep Arts Festival on track to open in the Oppenheimer Gardens tomorrow, a report on last year’s festival indicates that the event attracted 49 000 visitors.

The report on last year’s event was submitted to a recent Economic Development, Urban Renewal and Tourism meeting as part of a report-back to the Sol Plaatje City Council, which sponsors the event with R1.5 million each year.

According to the report, last year the festival attracted 49 000 visitors, while local businesses, such as hotels, bed and breakfasts, the malls, fuel stations, restaurants and fast food franchises all benefited from the influx of visitors.

“The Gariep Arts Festival contributes to nation-building by providing a safe environment where South Africans from all walks of life can interact and share their cultural and traditional cuisine, arts, crafts, dance and music,” the report states.

According to the executive summary, Gariep last year, which had 215 stallholders, created a total of 644 jobs in the city.

This included 82 bar and gate staff members, seven administrative staff members, 21 general logistic workers and 13 technical staff members, who were employed by the Gariep Arts Festival.

An independent supplier, Amusements for Africa, employed a further 60 people, while a local cleaning services business hired an additional 54 workers to keep the terrain clean and a security company employed 133 workers. Computicket temporarily employed 23 workers and a business associate hired 30 casuals to guard cars at designated areas.

A total of 69 local suppliers were used by the Gariep Arts Festival for various purchases. According to the report, it is estimated that R1.4 million was spent on products and services from local suppliers. This excludes remuneration for local artists, musicians and workers.

There were 429 artists, including 95 musicians and 169 local artists. Fifteen productions were staged.

The various shows were accommodated at the four festival terrain venues (three of which were attended at no additional costs), as well as four venues outside the festival terrain.

The festival has three outreach programmes which benefit more than 1 000 disadvantaged children and elderly, and is also involved with five corporate social investment beneficiaries including Cansa, Caritas, Reach for a Dream, SANBS and SAN Parks.

“Without the continued support of local government, it would be a very unpleasant challenge to organise and host the festival,” the report concludes. “The festival has a lot of potential for future growth and transformation.”